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You are gods (John 10:34)

Friday, March 30, 2007
Friday 5 of Lent

Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 17; John 10:31-42

Hawkesyard AnnunciationWhat does it mean to say that we are gods? St Thomas Aquinas, following a long Christian tradition, says that Jesus “assumed our nature, so that he, made human, might make human beings gods.” How is this wonderful exchange, as the Christmas antiphon puts it, possible?

It is fitting to recall Christmas during Passiontide. Earlier this week, the feast of the Annunciation reminded us of the wonder of Christ’s incarnation, for as Holy Week approaches, we recall that the path of Christ’s life runs from the crib to the cross. Jesus was born for a purpose, so the creed says: “for our salvation, he came down from heaven”. That purpose was perfected in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us of this. He has been sent into the world to accomplish the Father’s works; he is a man on a mission and his quest is nothing less than our salvation. As he says earlier in John’s gospel: “God sent the Son into the world… that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17). This salvation is the fullness of life, for Christ also says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10), and this abundant life is our sharing in the divine life of God. Christ gave us this eternal life through his death on the Cross and we may ponder this mystery in the words of the venerable Passiontide hymn Vexilla Regis.

On the Cross, Christ accomplished his Father’s works and poured out his Spirit to give us new life, so that by water and blood – baptism and Eucharist – we are adopted as co-heirs with Christ and become participants in the life of the Trinity. Hence the Easter vigil is focused on the baptism of new Christians, for in the Church’s womb, the baptismal font, new gods are born! This marvellous work of God’s grace that makes us “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4) is cause for us to praise and thank the Lord, for as Jeremiah says in the first reading: "he has rescued the poor from the power of the wicked", from sin and death.

As we prepare to celebrate the 'week of salvation', let us pray for those who will be re-born in baptism and pray for grace to live as God's children, so that those who see us may "believe the works" (Jn 10:38) that Jesus Christ does in us, and thus also come to know and love him.

The window above from the former Dominican priory chapel at Hawkesyard depicts the link between the Annunciation, the Cross and the Trinitarian life.

Lawrence Lew OP


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